A response from the Royal Aeronautical Society to the House of Commons Transport Committee Draft Civil Aviation Bill
(29 November 2011)
1. The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. Established in 1866, the Society has 16,000 members in over 100 countries (including 3,500 classified as young members), and is a leader and provide of foresight within the aerospace community. It has a wide range of specialist groups, including an air transport group and the Greener-by-Design group, comprising senior academics, industrialists and consultants dedicated to providing objective information and advice towards the promotion of environmentally sustainable aviation.
2. The Society welcomes the requirement placed on the CAA under Section 81 of the Bill to publish, or arrange the publication of information and advice it considers appropriate relating to the environmental effects of Civil Aviation in the UK, as well as the impact on human health and to consider measures designed to reduce such impacts. Environmental effects are perhaps the single most important external factor influencing civil aviation and patterns of air transport growth over the next 30 years.
3. It is vital, however, clearly to distinguish between those factors over which the UK, and by implication, the CAA has a direct power to influence. These are almost entirely related to the local effects associated with airport operation — noise and aggregated pollution (including road traffic). All other issues are largely global effects, and even regional measures such as the European Emissions Trading System, have limited and potentially contentious application to a global air transport industry.
4. The Society is concerned that the quality of data gathered by the CAA or its agents should be peer reviewed and should not reflect the interests of any interest, commercial, governmental or non-governmental organisation. In preparing any environmental measure designed to affect civil aviation operations, the CAA should publish source material and key assumptions for external accountability.
5. The CAA is to be required to give advice to the general public based on this data. The Society is concerned that this might lead to an over simplification of what can be very complex and uncertain science. The CAA should again be constrained to seek external opinions on the quality of such advice.
To read the full Civil Aviation Bill, visit the Department for Transport website.
For further information please contact:
Professor Keith Hayward
Head of Research
Royal Aeronautical Society
No.4 Hamilton Place
London W1J 7BQ, UK
T +44 (0)7768 471617